Jurgen Klopp today tried to explain to his pre-match press-conference before the Newcastle clash why Coutinho’s exit hasn’t affected results.
Since selling our former no.10 for £142m, we’ve put in many brilliant performances, including against FC Porto in the Champions League and Manchester City at Anfield.
In fact, this season, we’ve got more points and scored more goals without him in the lineup, despite his impressive individual outings before Christmas.
Liverpool have now played 20 games with and 20 games without Coutinho this season.
With: W8 D10 L2 1.70 points per game
Without: W15 D2 L3 2.35 ppg.
Total: W23 D12 L5 2.03 ppg.
Doesn't prove a thing, but there's quite a difference for whatever reason.
— Andrew Beasley (@BassTunedToRed) February 26, 2018
Klopp thinks that without Phil, we’re perhaps a little less predictable, but that the current bunch need to maintain their current level or we’ll notice the fact he isn’t here much more.
“We don’t have set-pieces, free-kicks or his dribbling in small spaces anymore, so that could be really bad. Tomorrow it could change, so I’m just focusing on the moment!” Klopp began when asked about why his team have reacted so well to the Brazilian’s absence.
“Coutinho was a dominant player in our game, when we weren’t at our best it was a good idea to give him the ball. When he didn’t play we had to do the job differently. And I’m glad it has worked well so far.
“Attitude hasn’t changed, but maybe teams find it harder to deal with us now.
“On a good day you are more unpredictable without a dominant player… On a bad day, it can be difficult!”
Thankfully, we haven’t had too many ‘Bad Days’ since Coutinho’s departure.
The worry was that when teams sit ultra deep, we’ll miss Phil’s creativity; the ability to carve open a defence with one pass – but so far – this has only happened against Swansea.
In the rest of the games, the front-three has managed to wreak havoc without Coutinho’s service – largely interlinking with each other.
The added responsibility on the shoulders of Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino seems to have actually increased their level – which is a huge testament to that particular trio and the manager for having such faith in them.